Saturday, December 29, 2018

Quilt talk

Finally, some quilty talk!  And now that Christmas is over I can show the fabrics I bought at Liberty of London while we were there.  If there is one single thing I regret about that wonderful trip to England it's that I didn't buy more of the fabric.  But, is that a surprise?  I quilt.  There is never enough and always regret for what was left behind.  While PH was so nice about finding a Husband Chair and letting me go, I also knew we had a time crunch and so didn't have hours and hours of browsing time. 

 I like blue.  It's the color that I gravitate to, even though I don't have lots of blue quilts, there is blue in all of them somewhere.  I chose these from the section the clerk told me was exclusive, meaning they won't be sold anywhere but at Liberty of London's store.  The clerk chose the peach to contrast and while I would never have "seen" it it works and I was happy with her advice. 
 The daisy on the right was the first bolt I chose.  LOVED it.  I wish I had yards of this one.
 This was a package of fat quarters in a separate room, the room with notions and kits and ribbons and scissors made in Sheffield.  As we were getting ready to check out, PH told me to go into this other room and choose a package of fats.  Again, I chose what would work with the blue.

 I don't know what I'm going to do with these treasures.  I wish I had more but I will do something that uses every single little snippet.  I'm still thinking.

Now then, on to this.  I saw it at a garage sale of someone I knew.  She hung it as a backdrop to hide the garage-y stuff behind it and I loved the colors (again, the blues) and asked her what she wanted for it.  She thought I was a bit crazy to want it and said $5 and didn't know why I wanted it.  I told her it was good for a cutter.
 You have to look close to see that it's not in great shape.
 There are patches that look like this
 Yet, some that looked like this, too.
 Some like this
And some salvageable. 

I'm going to sit with the seam ripper right now, I was saving the project just for a day like this: after Christmas, a day to binge watch the current season of Outlander that I've been recording, while PH watches football bowl games and basketball till midnight.  I'm going to take it apart and save the salvageable and then see what happens.  Not sure yet how much is going to be saved, but there will be something - table topper, wall hanging, runner...who knows?    And if you don't agree with what I'm going to do, I don't care.  I'm going to sign off now and take up the seam ripper, so it's too late! 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas

 Merry Christmas Blogland Friends

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Christmas Fun

Christmas weekend with our family has come and gone.  We had a wonderful time, the glow is still shining.
Here are some of the highlights but by no means all of them:

 The obligatory group photo. 

 Learning a game of strategy

 Looking for the pickle

Finding it and reaping the reward!
 Stockings are a highlight the next morning.  We all agreed it's fun to shop for and open them.
PH is in his element with filling the stockings. Among other goodies there's the traditional orange and a silver dollar.
 Did I say an orange?  We are a different group.  We do get an orange from PH but last year Elizabeth requested something different and in addition to an orange because she doesn't like to eat them but thought she should still have one "for tradition"  and so we all put in an order for our favorite fruit.  This year there were two pineapples, some dates, grapefruit, a bag of apples for two of the kids, blueberries and oh, yes, cherries.
 Son-in-law paints soldiers for Charlie every year and this year he made this.  It's become the most anticipated and last given gift each year.

I hope you all had as much fun as we did. 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Some Like it Hot

And that would be my son-in-law.  He loves hot peppers and puts them on and in everything. They even in their house a hot pepper tree/plant that they harvest the fresh fruits from.    Well, I've been loving the dehydrating feature on my new oven and the other day he gave me a bag full of the peppers and asked me to see if they would dehydrate so he can grind them up and put the spice on his popcorn - among other things.  More like on everything.

These are the hottest peppers out there.  I wore gloves to cut them.

 I didn't wear gloves when I stuck my finger in the oven occasionally to test their doneness as they dried and my fingers tasted of their hotness all evening - not matter how often or hard I washed my hands.  These things mean business!
 But it does work, they dehydrate down to crispyness in just a few hours

and he said he crushed them in a mortar and pestle and made chili powder.  To put on his popcorn.
Among other things.

Saturday, December 15, 2018


Well, since the girls have been eating the peanut butter balls as fast as I can make them, we had a chocolate coating session when they came last night for a sleepover.  I made the dough the day before so it could be cold and firm and together we rolled balls
 Then they each dipped

 And as the pile got smaller they started getting silly and I decided they needed a little more practice before they got jobs in a candy factory someday. 
But now the supply has been replenished and the new stock is in the fridge waiting for next weekend.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Busy days

 Baking and wrapping and candy making and ice creams to make and pies from last summer's black raspberries, soups and concerts and meals with friends.  Very little sewing. Too tired to read till midnight. The freezer is too small. 

Friday, December 7, 2018


I should have titled this post How to Torture Grandma

 It all started with this piece of fabric.  Adelaide: "Grandma, will you make something for me with this? I think it's really pretty."   Of course.  So.  I thought and thought and thought a bed pocket would be good. They can keep their books or tablets in it when they finish for the night.   But Adelaide said no, "Just roll it up and stuff it.  Like this."

I have said a million times, I don't sew, I quilt.  It's torture for me.  But....
Elizabeth said she would like a bed pocket and I told her she could choose any fabric she liked.  "Even from the forbidden shelf?"  So she chose the blue floral print. 
This is where I was laid on the rack, arms and legs splayed and the screws tightened.  It took me over a week of angst to put this together. Really.  Nothing I did was right because after I cut everything according to specs I realized in a sit up in bed moment in the middle of the night, Elizabeth has a loft bed and so doesn't have a box spring for the full size pattern to fit.  She needed something less than half that size.  I must have circled the dining room table a hundred times talking to this thing, examining it, measuring, KNOWING as soon as I took a cut it would be wrong. 

Speaking of dining room table.  My machine is in the bathroom closet, my stash in a bedroom closet along with the tabletop ironing board and cutting mat, the iron is in the cupboard beneath the bathroom sink.  When I "want" to use the machine it's quite a process to set things up so whatever I do it needs time, time, time to make all that unpacking and repacking supplies worthwhile.

Back to coming to terms....I can't tell you how many times I rip.  But eventually I got the bed pocket done and it's really cute.  The ties are to hold it to her side rail.  By the time you see this she will have received it. She said she wanted it to "hold her candy."

I was saving myself for the pillow.  I knew I wasn't going to just stuff it. I bought a neck roll pillow and watched a few YouTubes and spent yesterday doing a job that would have taken any of you an hour.   The ends are a little loose, but when it's washed and dried after she and the cats and the dog use it, the looseness will tighten up.

So, now the dining room table is cleaned off, I'll vacuum the threads now and go back to my peaceful hand work with newfound love.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Once Upon a River

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

     The story begins with storytellers. Once upon a time upon a river there is an inn called The Swan on the river Thames in Radcot. The specialty at this inn was storytelling. The people in the village took pride in their story telling, they aspired to it.  Telling stories helped the long winters pass and on one particular winter evening a man arrives, gravely injured and bleeding and he is holding a small girl.  A small dead girl.  As things are sorted out, the man cared for, the girl taken away to a side room, the storytelling both stopped and gained a life of its own, because a little after the child is laid down, she takes a breath and is once again living.  Who can die and come back to life after an hour?  Who is the child?  Who are her parents and where did she come from?  Is she even real? She isn’t talking and the man who carried her in doesn’t know, either.
     As the storytellers depart into the night and give wings to the events at The Swan, three people come to claim the child.  A young couple whose daughter was kidnapped two years earlier claim the child is theirs. Certainly, of course she looks a bit different, but she was a toddler then and is a young girl now. 
     Then there is a man named Quietly.  Quietly plies the river in his boat, sometimes rescuing people and bringing them to safety, and thus a longer life, and sometimes he takes them to the other shore. People know of Quietly and some have claimed to been saved by him but he is elusive.
     To another family this child belongs to their estranged son.  She is their family, and he no longer is, so it’s important to claim her and raise her as their own.  It would be so much easier if the child could talk.
     Each family has staked a claim on the young girl and each has their own story, but don’t we all have our own story? We can all take bits and pieces from these people and fit those bits into our own stories.
     Once you sit down with Diane Setterfield’s new book, you might as well give yourself up to it, don’t fight it, don’t answer the phone, don’t make plans.  In Once Upon a River there is something of being carried away by our imaginations and the possibilities of truth but there is always and on every page the magic of the author’s writing.  I couldn’t wait to read this and I couldn’t stop.